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Facts regarding electrocutions from consumer products

Products liability law encompasses the responsibilities that manufacturers of commercially available products have to their consumers. It is generally accepted that a manufacturer should exercise reasonable care to prevent products from being dangerous or defective in ways that could potentially harm consumers.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is the federal agency tasked with keeping track of dangerous or defective products and then enforcing recalls of those items. In 2009, the CPSC undertook a comprehensive survey of consumer products that had been involved in unintentional and non-work related electrocutions. The survey used a variety of statistics including data going all the way back to 2002. Although these numbers are associated with consumer products, it's important to remember that not all of them necessarily caused the accidents reported. The following are some of the more important highlights of that report:

-- Between the years of 2007-2009, consumer products were associated with an average of 70 electrocution fatalities per year during that period.

-- In that same timeframe, the death rate for consumer products-related electrocutions was 0.228 fatalities for every million.

-- The average age of the victims electrocuted by consumer products is intriguing. Looking at the numbers between 2002-2009. It appears that victims between the ages of 40 and 59 years of age died of electrocution deaths at a rate double the age group between 19 years and younger. This is despite the fact that both age groups are approximately the same in size

-- In that same timeframe, more than seven times more men than women died from consumer products electrocutions.

-- Victims attempting to repair small and large appliances was the number one cause of death for those types of consumer products.

The most common scenario for electrocutions involving small and large appliances was the consumer being electrocuted while attempting to repair the appliance.

Of course, not every electrocution involving consumer product is fatal. Illinois residents who of been harmed due to an unnecessarily dangerous or defective product need to know that they can sue the responsible parties for their injuries. However, not every product meets those criteria, and a successful lawsuit may be impossible if you have used a product in a manner not intended by the manufacturer.

An attorney with experience in Illinois products liability law can help you evaluate the facts of your case and determine whether you should move forward with a lawsuit.

Source: Consumer Product Safety Commision, "Electrocutions associated with consumer products," accessed June 10, 2015

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